Roommate problems…


Here is a scenario. Completely made up.

Say, there is a girl who just went to college, like almost 2 weeks ago. And this girl thought she did a good job “screening” her roommate before they decided to bunk together. They hung out several times over the summer, and talked enough that she felt they had plenty in common. Rooming together would be great fun.

And let’s pretend that when they moved in together, this girl found out that her roommate was not quite what she expected.

Like maybe the roommate brought strange guys into the room at odd hours of the night/morning when the girl was trying to sleep. Because it’s always fun to wake up at 2am with a strange man looking into your face.

And maybe the roommate hooked up with more random guys while the girl was at class, and she had the pleasure of walking in on them when she came back to the room to study and go to bed, so instead went to sleep in another friends room because her room was full of people having sex.

And what if, this roommate actually started to pick on the girl for not hooking up with anyone yet…. because they’ve been away from parental authority for like 10 days, what the hell is she waiting for?

Gosh. Wouldn’t that suck?

Sometimes, boys don’t like you.

I had a conversation with my daughter and her friend during a “pre-college” lunch……

A conversation about boys. Something I’ve noticed about plenty of these girls…. they make excuses for boys who don’t call them, don’t respect them, don’t seem to like them.

Instead…. the boy must have “commitment issues”, and deep down, he’s desperate to get closer. He’s scared…. he’s just really, really busy…., or he just needs more time….

I’ve heard these girls talking to each other, sharing their problems, and giving advice. Advice that centers on believing that this boy in question actually is quite interested in you, is most likely desperately in love with you, but somehow struggling with some huge barrier to being as available as he wants.

Maybe he’s a werewolf? secretly married?

Or, how about… as much as it sucks to hear it…..

He’s just NOT that into you. (by the way, a GREAT movie.)

So, during my lecture I recount a couple instances in my life, in my short dating history, when I found myself chasing after a guy….. who turned out to be not that into me.

One of them was older than me, he was 21 to my 17. Not a great gap in my mind…but he was far more mature in many ways. He dated me, treated me with great respect, let me meet his family….. but freaked out if anyone called me his girlfriend. I was NOT his girlfriend.

So, of course I felt I NEEDED to be his girlfriend, the one and only……

He was dating another couple girls as well, girls from his college. It drove me crazy, I cried over him… I kept thinking to myself that I MUST be important because his mom liked me, his sister liked me, and he did continue to call me, sporadically. I wanted to believe so much that I was going to “win”, and that I just had to keep hanging on……

It fizzled out.

To his credit, he knew it wasn’t going anywhere. He talked about our age difference, how we were in different places in life, I thought I could talk him out of that silly stuff. Thank God. I appreciate now, that he was the older and wiser one. He saw me for the desperate, hormonal teenager that I was, thinking I knew what I wanted in life. He knew I had no clue, and never took advantage of that.

Then there was the guy who seemed to like me, and then one day….stopped talking to me. This one really drove me crazy. He had a reputation, the “bad boy” that girls just can’t seem to stop chasing after. He was also a few years older, and way more experienced.

Things were fine, I thought. We went out several times….it’s hard to remember the exact number. I do remember professing that I was NEVER going to have sex….EVER…. maybe once or twice to him. Thinking back…that might have been a reason he just dropped off the planet??

At first I didn’t get it. I paged him. and paged him. and paged him. (yes, it was so long ago, that we used pagers instead of cell phones…) One day turned into two, then three. My frantic calls and pages tapered off…. and one day my cousin came home and told me she saw him with another girl.

The part that killed me was that lack of knowing… I don’t know what I was hoping to find out, now it seems pretty clear, the guy just didn’t want to waste his time.

I should not have repeatedly called and paged him after realizing that he was not going to be calling back.

I wish there was a way I could save these girls from making those same mistakes, or even worse mistakes-Just because they want a situation to fit their idea of how it should be. Just because they don’t yet realize they don’t need a boyfriend to be happy or successful. Just because they don’t have enough confidence in their own self worth.

This is why I am maybe too blunt when I talk to them.

“Girls!!! Trust me, if he likes you, and WANTS to get to know you….he will find the time. If not, please, don’t waste YOUR time!”


We made it to the campus. Only cried once so far.

We made it to the campus, and found somewhere to park!  Only cried once so far.

Got a golf-cart ride to the dorm… and I sat with my sister for an hour, waiting for Rachel and her dad to get the ok to unload the car. Cried a few times, once heavily.

Oh...she's embarrassed!!! YES.

Oh…she’s embarrassed!!! YES.

It was a strange feeling for me. Watching these kids, and the amounts of energy they put forth. You could FEEL the opportunity, the fun, the excitement…. I got caught up in the rush myself, wishing I’d had the chance to experience this when I was her age. So grateful that she is here, part of this…. and yet I’m still terrified to leave her here.

The door. Just about to be opened for the first time.

The door. Just about to be opened for the first time.

First steps into the room.

First steps into the room.

My sunglasses were kept on as we navigated the stairs and halls, and I managed to smile during my silent sobbing.

Still able to smile. This is a good thing.

Still able to smile. This is a good thing.

We unpacked, kind of. Bunked the beds, it took all 4 of us. Later found out maintenance could have done it for us…. something to remember for next time. Decided to get some lunch while her roommate was on her way to the room with her own family. Saying goodbye was not yet imminent, so I was actually hungry…. enjoying the last hours with her.

After eating, a trip to the bookstore, and a trip to Target….all within walking distance of her dorm… we headed back.

Now is the hard(est) part.

Saying goodbye.

I’m crying right now, thinking about it. It still feels so weird that she’s THERE…. for so LONG…… Ugh.

Her pushing me out the door.

Her pushing me out the door.

No, she didn’t really push me out the door. She was gracious, telling me I could stay as long as I wanted. But I knew I needed to let her get to it. I knew I needed to go…. but it was hard. Actually harder than I expected. Because it was finally real. My eyes are still puffy. Sunglasses back on, but they kept fogging up as I needed just one more hug, and then just one more hug again…..

We texted as I walked to the car with my sister.

We talked on the phone that first evening-last night. and texted goodnights.

I had a horrible sleep.

She texted this morning that she was still alive. And later, as late as I could possibly stand to wait… I got to see her face again.

Aaaaahhhhh, facetime. How I love it.

One day at a time………


packing up

packing up 18 years

We drive tomorrow, to drop her off.

This pile has been slowly growing in the corner of her room, and today it took over. A day of sorting through every item saved up to this moment, and deciding if it stays, or goes.

The last day home as a fully dependent child.

And who do I find in the closet, as we sort through the past 18 years together.

He doesn't look depressed enough for me......

He doesn’t look depressed enough for me……


He’s been around since she was a newborn, her first stuffed animal. I remember buying him.

And now he’s all I’ll have to hold on to for a while.


Don’t yell at my kids

courtesy of

courtesy of

I am going to tell you a story, that both breaks my heart, and fills me with absolute rage if I think too much about it. Because I can’t stop thinking about it.

We had an out of town relative come to visit recently. A guy the kids know but don’t get to see much. When they DO see him, he’s generally fun and they have a great time playing with him.

Sammy was insistent on bringing his bike to show this guy how well he could ride without training wheels, and would only ride when HE was watching. That was the first day we saw him, we also had a cookout and it was overall a really nice visit. So nice in fact, we wanted to come back to see him one more time, and say goodbye before he left yesterday.

Bad Idea.

Let me just say this….. grown men, in their 30’s…. who choose to wrestle and play rough with a 5 year old, Who wrap him in blankets, put him in fake choke holds, lie on him and pretend to suffocate him on the couch….. should not be shocked if they suddenly decide to stop playing this way, but the 5 year old doesn’t catch on immediately.

When the same grown man goes to sit in another chair, and picks up my 2 year old, playing with her and holding her off the ground…and she starts saying “ow-ow”… as though she is hurt…… Sammy runs over and starts to throw some punches. Now, he is still playing, but suddenly his behavior is not acceptable and so he is SHOVED away, and screamed at-violently-by this jackass who thinks HE needs to teach my son a lesson. He is threatened with bodily injury if he “dares” touch him again. All the while, Sammy is standing quietly, wide-eyed, as this red-faced monster is screaming at him, inches from his face.

Things deteriorated quickly.

This man, who has no children of his own, who has a known history of violent outbursts and lack of impulse control, has just traumatized my child. My child who has so far been too shy and unsure of himself to defend himself against people his OWN AGE, now being attacked by someone he practically worshiped in much the same way he idolizes his older brother. He thinks these older male relatives are “so cool”, and almost swaggers when allowed to play and hang out with them.

This man does not deserve the respect, the love, the adoration he received.

Trust me, I know my children, like ALL children, can be annoying. They don’t always listen, they fight with each other, they make messes, they aren’t perfect. I know this. But I also know that I discipline my children, I am strict, they don’t run loose in the world to wreak havoc on those around them. I don’t condone them hitting, but I also see how he got caught up in the excitement of rough housing, that he got carried away. Maybe he did need to be stopped at that point.


These are not your children. You don’t have the right to put that fear in his eyes. You don’t have the right to shove my son. You don’t have the right to scream in his face, and threaten to hurt him.

I yell, but YOU CAN’T.

I was 10 feet away, or less. If you want him to stop, and he doesn’t listen, you come get ME. I will yell, if I need to. But he will not cower in fear from me, because he knows I love him. He knows I won’t hurt him, and he knows I won’t shove him.

And so we had a quiet ride home yesterday, followed by tears as Sammy finally talked about it, followed by random outburst today of  “Mom, he should have said ‘Sammy, please stop’.”, and “Boy, I really don’t like him”…..  and me feeling like a failure for not being able to stop that from happening, and wishing we had never gone over there in the first place.

So in this way, a relationship was destroyed. Because I can forgive anyone for what they do to me….eventually. But I don’t forgive for what you do to my children. And one day, if you ever have kids of your own- you might understand that.

Death of another summer


Summer was here, and we grabbed it up, desperately squeezing each moment out of it.

We used it to race up the hill at the blue park, and learned how to roll down. We swung for hours, sometimes pumping our legs, mostly not. We chased the daylight, going fishing at dusk….and those dying rays caught the oldest boy helping the youngest catch his first fish…and throw it back. Summer watched as training wheels were removed, and another child learned balance, then speed. Summer nights taught us to catch lightning bugs, and watch them on our fingers.

We felt it ending. The heat came, finally…. but so fast we knew it would burn itself out.

We were desperate to claim every free moment of every day. Throwing it up like a kite, begging the wind to catch it and keep it up just a little more.

A million walks for ice cream. Out with the hose, spraying each other, and the car. Amusement parks, big and small. Face painting, fireworks, big girl underwear–FINALLY! Hot and sweaty stroller naps, and the crash of summer thunder storms.

Late nights, too late…. but we don’t want to waste it!!

Slipping through our fingers. Even the two year old can’t sweet talk it into staying.

A sigh.

One final week before our summer dies.

summer20 summer2  summer9 summer8 summer13  summer12 summer5 summer11 summer6 summer3 summer4 summer16 summer18 summer17 4thz

Goodbye summer..... until next year :/

Goodbye summer….. until next year :/

9 LAST days and counting


Oooohhhh…… she’s leaving me. In 9 days, she will be gone.

I’ve reached the point of “lasts”…. Yesterday was “probably” our last walk up to Mitchell’s for ice cream. I tried to immortalize the moment.


She wasn’t having it.

Every moment is a new last moment, before she goes. It’s hitting me pretty hard, I fear it gets worse. I’m doing all sorts of weird things to remember EVERY MOMENT before she leaves.

our shadows. After our LAST walk for ice cream.

our shadows. After our LAST walk for ice cream.

I took her and one of her good friends to lunch today, a goodbye lunch. our LAST lunch at Vieng’s Asian Bistro. I’m trying to remember everything. Every last precious minute.

Is this strange? Do I not realize that she will still be allowed to contact me, to come home when she wants? Of course I know this, but I also know it will never be the SAME. Her first visits home I think will be a relief, she will miss us. I’m 99% sure of this. But as she settles in, and she starts to get used to living away….. her trips home may feel stifling. Right? I think that’s how it works. She won’t feel like the same person, for her going back to school will be “home”, when she’s done with her visit here. She will be relieved to get back to her life.

She will transform, without my help or influence.

It’s a painful, exciting, scary, beautiful thing.

Is she ready?


My last baby is 2 and a half.

A little past the half if truth be told.

Is she ready for preschool?

Am I ready??

The 2 year program is just to get your little ones ready to be apart from you, they do some crafts, sing songs, play, dance, whatever. They learn how to follow directions from their teacher, and how to socialize with classmates. This is a 90 minute program, 2 or 3 days a week-at a center that Sammy really loved. He still misses going there, and misses “Nathan”…the boy he stalked.

I took Sammy because he was so attached to me, I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t do a slow transition into being away from me. There is a monitor outside of the room where you can stand if you want, and watch your child the whole time.

Sammy cried his first day, for a good 5 minutes until he actually threw up into a garbage can that a teacher was holding in front of him. I was trying to resist “saving” him, but just about to race in and scoop him up. Then, after vomiting….he stopped, looked around, and started playing. Never to cry there again.

Jenna is so much more social already, I guess I feel she probably doesn’t need the baby step approach. She already seems wise beyond her years. She even accompanies her big brother to the closet to get socks when he’s afraid of the dark.

And come on… EVERY other kid is transitioning this year. One into college. One into high school. One into kindergarten.

Can’t I just hold onto her for awhile? Is this going to hurt her??

I think I’ll worry about it after she turns 3. For now, she can socialize with me. We can play school at home, and I will keep her all to myself for just a little bit longer.

When mom grows up

Sometimes, moms find a desire to do things for themselves. This can mean putting aside time for leisure activities, or exercise, maybe lunches or dinners out with friends….. Sometimes this can mean going back to school, or getting a job after being home with the kids for possibly many years.

Sometimes, having mom not always available is a bit shocking to the family.

Sometimes, moms get blamed for being “selfish”, because she finds an outlet that she enjoys, like riding a bike for example…… and it makes her feel good about herself, healthy, strong, and energized.

I see this happening right now.

I see a mom I’ve known for going on 20 years, finally starting to care about herself a little bit. She was so introverted when I met her, never left the house other than to take the kids to school or other events around the kids. She was painfully shy, and lacked all self confidence. She was always at home, so if I called, she was available to talk. I got used to this, her being there, and always available.

But then….

Some things happened in her life, out of her control. Things that have shaken her up, and made her take a good long look at herself. She realized she could no longer depend on anyone else to care for her, while she cared for the kids. She realized she would need to become more self reliant, more interactive with the world, more able to care for the kids financially as well as emotionally and physically. To be a better mom, a stronger mom.

Fast forward say 5 years…..

She has changed. For the better. Grown in confidence, believing for the first time that she is worthy. Of happiness, of enjoying herself, of pursuing her interests. She is working, going to school, and participates in a cycling group where she is seen as a leader. For the first time she is willing to be noticed! She’s growing in so many ways.

As I say that, I can admit that I have complained and nagged her about how she’s “never” available for me anymore…I don’t even call the house, I call her cell. She’s busy!! I realize that I looked at her as my faithful friend, always there on standby if I needed to talk. How unfair of me to expect her to stay in her box, so I can take her out when I feel like it, and put her back when I’m done.

I know her kids, now a teen and preteen. I know how much she loves her kids, and how much time she has dedicated to them. So imagine how they feel seeing mom changing, doing new things, and not being home as much….ready and waiting them.

They feel abandoned.

I believe it’s scary for them, seeing her go through these changes. Maybe they wonder if it’s because she’s not happy just being their mom? Maybe she doesn’t love them enough? Maybe she loves herself more than them?

It is so hard for people to deal with change. And I wish her kids could understand her love for them has inspired many of the changes she is now going through. She wants to be MORE…for herself AND them. And change is hard for everyone. She is very stressed now, juggling a full schedule, and has cried over how much studying she has to do, wanting more time to do anything else! Her goal is to find a balance again……and she will, but it might take a while.

One day they will be older, and realize her efforts were not selfish. I hope they look at her dedication to school for what it was, a dedication to her family and an effort to be the best provider for them. I hope they remember the painstaking hours she spends-still-making the ridiculously amazing birthday cakes for them, always originally themed and requiring hours of hand numbing decorating, because she refuses to get store bought. I hope they realize her bike riding is right now her therapy, a healthy way to relieve stress, clear her mind, and strengthen her body.

I know as they grow, they will understand. But right now they don’t, and it’s painful for everyone as mom grows up.

But keep watching…….

She made it!!!

Didn't this just happen yesterday????

Didn’t this just happen yesterday????

How I feel about the oldest finishing high school.

I sat there today, watching the class file into their seats, a sea of green robes and hanging tassels.

How funny that I knew her right away, although she looked like everyone else from that distance. We were looking at the shoes actually, I knew I’d find her if I just watched for the sandals she stole out of my closet this morning. After I zoomed in, I made sure-yep, she’s wearing my shoes.

I started crying right away, surprising myself. I was so rushed this morning, and so excited…. I had forgotten that I might get emotional. I certainly didn’t expect it to happen before her name was called.

But the eyes watered, and the tears flowed as I let the truth settle in…. this was IT. In a way, a relief…. one out of 4 officially graduated, I could count myself successful with this one so far.

And little moments kept coming to mind, her birth, her preschool graduation (yellow robe that day), and the years of teen angst that seem to have magically dissipated by this time. How funny that all those hours sitting up in her room, studying (while watching equal hours of Netflix) is over. Her time here is growing shorter, and her room will be empty soon-waiting for her to visit.

And so they start calling the names. We are asked to all be quiet until the last name is called. At first this happens, but soon families and friends let out yells, whistles, claps for some graduates. I’m sitting next to my sister, and we debate for about 30 minutes about if we will yell out or not. I’ve NEVER done it. Even at the T-ball, and later softball games. I always wanted to be the parent yelling encouragement, but never could bring myself to do it. This is my last chance!!

So we agree. I’ll yell her name, and my sister will make some appropriate noise of encouragement. We’ll both clap. We shake on it, no one can back out. And……there she was!!!  We watched her as she followed the line of students, awaiting their turn to walk across the stage. And I heard her name called, and I yelled out to her, clapping and smiling like an idiot. But I wasn’t embarrassed in that moment, instead just bursting with pride.

I pushed her during school, always harping on her grades, talking about her future. She was in advanced placement classes, at times completely frazzled with the amount of studying and homework required while continuing to play varsity softball and keep up with her responsibilities at home . She would often be up late to study after a game. I knew her GPA… but it wasn’t until I saw the program, and saw how she had achieved every possible honor and was listed Summa Cum Laude, that it struck me. She DID that…. she didn’t give up, she struggled, she sacrificed, and she made it.

So, how do I feel??

Of course the expected happy, proud, excited, nostalgic…..

And a little awed.

All this time, I’ve been a little worried. Thinking she’s still a KID….worried she may not be ready to go off to college and be in the “real world”….

I may not have given her enough credit. She’s got her act together. She’s going to kick ass in college….and in life.